GENEVA – Three times more migrants arrived in Europe by land in the first nine months of 2018 than in the same period of the previous year, according to the latest figures released by the International Organization for Migration on Friday.
Around 18,000 migrants arrived in Europe overland so far this year compared 2,464 who crossed borders into the continent between January and September 2017 while the United Nations migration agency reported that 74,501 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through Sept. 12.
“Spain, with over 43 percent of all irregular arrivals on the Mediterranean through this year, has outpaced Greece and Italy throughout the summer,” the IOM said in a statement.
The majority of land migrants crossed from Turkey into Greece, a European Union member state.
Most of the migrants on that route originated from war-torn nations like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Overland travel accounted for only 20 percent of migrant arrivals.
Some 74,501 people arrived in Europe across the sea so far this year, while an estimated 1,586 died attempting to do so.
“IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 1,586 men, women and children on three Mediterranean crossing points,” the report said. “Most recently, at least 21 people died or went missing when attempting to reach Spain via the Western Mediterranean,” it added.
The most frequently used migrant route was from West Africa through Mauritania, Morocco to Spain, which has received 32,272 migrants until September.
Meanwhile, Greece received 20,961 migrants and Italy received another 20,343 others who arrived from Libya.